Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rhetorical questions - gays and Jews

Tony Perkins
According to people like Tony Perkins, as a gay Jew  I am destined for his version of Hell — twice. Even the more moderate Rick Warren (who keeps some of his homophobia in check) required little prodding from Max Blumenthal to confirm that the journalist was headed for the nether regions. A number of leaders of Christian right organizations are quietly antisemitic. They try to cover it up with vocal support for Israel. However, that advocacy is really a product of Rapture-ready end times fetishism when, by the way, all the Jews die.

In their minds, Jews run Hollywood which is Satan's propaganda ministry.

Don Wildmon prepares to suck
Don Wildmon as Deep Throat
Don Wildmon, founder of American Family Association, has gone so far as to "confirm" that Jews run the entertainment industry and that they (we) are too tolerant of gay people. 6,000 years of oppression seems to have taught us something. Personally, I suspect that the old prick has a neatly folded white sheet, with eye-holes, on a shelf in his closet.

During Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearings, Tony Perkins observed that Hagel was backed by Democratic senators who are “mostly aligned with a lot of the Jewish lobby” and “enjoy the money coming from the Jewish community.” Perkins has since apologized. We do tend to be liberal Democrats but we are not part of some grand conspiracy to run America.

I think we can agree that even the more moderate leaders in the conservative Christian community believe that Jews are going to Hell for their behavior in not accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior.

Jay Sekulow
Jay Sekulow
Nevertheless, they try to keep their antipathy for Jews relatively subdued. Also, a few things are missing. For starters, where are the scathing polemics from FRC about Jews? With the exception of a few people like Jay Sekulow, where is the "Ex-Jew" movement? Why aren't Perkins and Wildmon pounding tables with directives for us to "convert or die in Hell?" Why isn't Rick Scarborough sending out a massive stream of mail and email accusing the Christ killers of being liberal Marxists? Why were we excluded from the opprobrium evident in the Manhattan Declaration?

Even flame throwers like the rather dull witted Matt Barber manage some restraint. Barber has savaged the SPLC, even before the FRC shooting. He claims that Mark Potok is anti-Christian. Yet he is very careful not to indulge in outright antisemitism.

David Duke
David Duke
Don't get me wrong, there is ample overt antisemitism in America. There are enough holocaust deniers, Klansmen and neo-Nazis floating around to keep the ADL and SPLC very busy. Yet, for the most part, open antisemitism is relegated to the fringe. These days, Ron Paul is about as close as they get to respectability.

That wasn't the case not so long ago. In 1990 Pat Buchanan referred to American Jews as the "amen corner" of the Israeli defense ministry. Some people think that Buchanan's "culture war speech" at the 1992 GOP convention was, in part, an antisemitic dog whistle. Don't forget that, when Dan Quayle attacked the "cultural elite," he was referring to Jews. As the memories of the Holocaust faded, so did self-discipline when it came to antisemitic rhetoric.

It was actually William F. Buckley (of all people) who attacked the antisemitism head on. He concluded “I find it impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said amounted to anti-Semitism.” Buckley was only relevant because, regardless of what people said or did, they did not want to be labeled as "antisemites."

Perkins, Wildmon, Barber, Porno Pete and the entire leadership of the conservative Christian movement have absolutely no problem portraying LGBT people as evil, diseased perverts who are out to recruit children into their unhealthy lifestyle — all while professing their love for us.

So what is the difference?

For the most part I think that it is no longer acceptable in polite society to express anti-Jewish views. Some of that is due to money and politics. But there is plenty of distaste for Jews in both parties. Yet it has been largely silenced.

Obviously gays are not there. Not by a long shot. Indeed, Republicans wear their homophobia as a badge of honor. That is what has to change. I am a committed liberal Democrat who has been very critical of the Log Cabin Republicans but they could prove very useful in the long run. While there are a few gay friendly Republicans (such as Florida's Ros-Lehtinen), they are in very short supply and no William F. Buckley has emerged.

The advent of the Tea Party and its overlap with the Christian Right is reminiscent of the one-time influence of the John Birch Society. The Cracked Teapots make it very difficult to find any common ground with the GOP and we don't have an AIPAC that they feel the need to pander to.

What we do have is numbers. There are more than twice as many LGBT Americans as there are Jews. Furthermore, while Jews have Jewish families, gays have straight families. We have built-in support from more than a third to perhaps 40% of America. We are also getting well organized. Chad Griffin is making some real positive changes to HRC and GLAAD makes a significant impact. Those are just two of many organizations that are making a difference.

What we need is a Bill Buckley. There is only one person in the GOP who could (and should) make that kind of impact. Regardless of how he pandered to the whack jobs in 2008, John McCain could be just that kind of game changer. He was there once, or close, when he referred to them as "agents of intolerance." We just need to convince him that he could be the savior of the Republican Party. I suspect that he already knows that it needs to be saved.
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